Cloud Foundry is a platform as a service environment for hosting cloud technology and software frameworks. The name Cloud Foundry refers to the software, which is free and open-source and available at CloudFoundry.org, while the site CloudFoundry.com hosts Cloud Foundry software that you can use if you dont want to install it locally.
As of this writing, CloudFoundry.com is in beta and is free for developers to use. So far, the site hasnt announced pricing using the sites services. Recently, Cloud Foundry released an extension for Eclipse called Cloud Foundry Integration Extension for Eclipse that allows developers to deploy Java applications to their Cloud Foundry account right from within Eclipse. eWEEK Labs tried out the Eclipse extension and found it to be an excellent and necessary tool for Java developers using Cloud Foundry.
The first thing I did to get started was to sign up with Cloud Foundry by simply going to the site and registering (which only required an email address and nothing more). Soon, I received an email with my registration information, which included a link to download the command-line tools, as well as a link to instructions for installing the extension in Eclipse.
I purposely skipped the command-line tools, because I was determined to do everything right from within Eclipse, even though I didnt know yet if Id be able to. The email also said that the first thing that I needed to do was to sign in with the command-line tools and change my password. I wondered if Id be able to do that from within Eclipse. (As youll see later, the short answer is that I was indeed able to and didnt need the command-line tools at all.)
Next, I started up the version of Eclipse that I had installed on my computer, which is the current 3.7 Indigo release. However, I only had the Java edition, whereas Cloud Foundry needs the JEE (Java Enterprise Edition) Web tools. I didnt want to download the entire JEE edition of Eclipse, so before proceeding, I installed the additional JEE tools from within Eclipse. I then installed the Cloud Foundry Integration Extension for Eclipse by going to the Eclipse Marketplace right within Eclipse itself and searching for the words Cloud Foundry. The extension appeared in the list and I clicked the Install button. After a couple minutes, the extension installed, and Eclipse restarted.
Next, I had to set up a server. Still inside Eclipse, I followed the instructions the email referred to, which included how to create a new server. There was an option to connect either to a local installation of Cloud Foundry or to a Microcloud, which refers to a local Cloud Foundry running inside a VMware player, or to the remote Cloud Foundry servers that Id registered with already.